The essence of the Christmas story is that God becomes a human and reconciles estranged humans, to demonstrate the value of humanity and call humans to live in reconciled, just, and integrated community. This is the Biblical understanding of peace.This concept of ‘compassionate inclusivity’, while not new, seems highly relevant today, a vital part of the Good News which Anglicans – alongside other Christians – are called to proclaim. In Bishop Duleep’s understanding, ‘the socially excluded and economically exploited, the traditional and historical enemy, and the feared and hated oppressor can come together in a redefined freedom’, though only if grievances are ‘addressed and healed’ and ‘hostile relationships restored through repentance and forgiveness’.
Consequently Christmas calls for a radical shift in our world-view if we too want peace. Because God became human and lives amongst humans, humans are to see the face of God in ‘the other’ and strive towards a truly human community. In a nutshell, Christmas is the call to compassionate inclusivity.
24 December 2007
I have just been reading a Christmas message from Duleep de Chickera, Anglican Bishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka, on ‘The call to compassionate inclusivity’. He writes: